Will Proudfout (Bill Milner) is a member of a devout religious sect, forbidden from watching television and especially R-rated army bloodbaths. After being singled out by the school trouble-maker, Lee Carter (Will Poulter), Will agrees to help him make a movie, which basically involves performing the most dangerous stunts. At one point he stands precariously on the edge of a plank before being catapulted flailing into a pile of boxes.
Those kinds of wild antics provide plenty of slapstick humor and genuine likability by the two young leads to keep it entertaining for all ages.
Accompanying Will on screen is another action hero, played by the androgynous French exchange student Didier Revol. Since all his English classmates are enamored with Didier, his casting brings hordes of new crew members and all the problems that come with a growing production.
What was once just a simple passion project for two buddies becomes a disaster as an out of control list of people add their input to the film. It’s a solid metaphor for the indie industry, where this film itself started. But ironically this sweet little movie was picked up at one of the largest film festivals (Sundance) by the art-house arm of Paramount Pictures for $8 million (a record for the fest).
The after-school escapades of the kids brought back fond memories of my own childhood, playing pretend army in the lawn with just our imaginations. Since the story is set in the 80s, it was a fun little trip back in time to when I was actually that age. If only I was allowed to play with a video camera…
The ending from writer/director Garth Jennings feels rushed and tries desperately to tie up all the loose ends for an average 90 minute run-time.